Around the world, local religious leaders have often been vocal advocates who help highlight injustices in their communities and bring about an end to conflict. Father Justin Nkunzi, a Congolese priest and the director of the Archdiocese of Bukavu’s justice and peace commission, is doing precisely this.
Speaking to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need during a recent visit to the UK, Father Nkunzi called on his government to end the conflict minerals trade in the Congo and emphasized the duty of end users of these minerals to ensure that their products are conflict-free. He specifically called on industry leaders to ensure transparent supply chains, and foreign support for efforts to end illegal mining.
Nkunzi highlighted the connection between the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, which he called “a new kind of terrorism,” and the trade in conflict minerals. Profits from this trade fuel the continuation of conflict in the region, he said.
In Bukavu, Father Justin works closely those directly affected by violence. His commission sponsors listening rooms that provide counseling and a forum for dialogue, and he is a vociferous advocate for peace.